Winter will be here soon and a common danger faced by many households is chimney fires. A chimney fire can quickly escalate into a full-fledged house fire, damaging your belongings and your home. The best course of action is to take these easy steps to prevent chimney fires.
Prevent Chimney Fires with Proper Maintenance
An early, unexpected cold snap can lead to a chimney fire. You may be expecting a few more weeks of warm weather for inspecting your chimney and cleaning the flue, but then a surprise cold front arrives. You build a fire and a chimney fire results.
Annual inspections and cleanings are key to preventing fires. Have a licensed professional check your entire fireplace and chimney well ahead of fall. Don’t build a fire until you complete both of these items.
Using Good Temperature Management
Chimney fires are frequently caused by a buildup of creosote, a tarry substance formed when a fire burns at a low temperature. Make sure your fire burns hot. Open the damper completely to increase airflow to the fire and the amount of heat the fire produces. If restrictions on airflow or fuel supply allow the fire to get too cool, creosote formation increases and with it the risk of a future chimney fire.
Choose the Right Wood to Help Prevent Chimney Fires
Not all firewood is the same. Some species naturally contain more tar-like material and they burn at a lower temperature, which contributes to the creosote.
Don’t use evergreens like pine and cedar. Choose hardwoods like oak, maple, and ash for a hot, clean burn that will help prevent chimney fires by reducing creosote build-up. Whatever wood you use, make sure it has been seasoned for at least a year so that is has minimal water content.
Converting to Other Fuels
If you have struggled with finding a good source of quality firewood, locating a qualified chimney inspector, or properly maintaining your fireplace, there are other options for making use of it.
One option for preventing chimney fires is to convert to gas. Inserts are available to fit your existing fireplace that will provide you with heat during a power failure while cutting out the mess, hassle, and potential danger of burning wood.
Fireplaces are an important source of heat in the home but are also potentially dangerous. They use open flames for heating the home, creating the risk of a fire. Preventing chimney fires is easy when you keep your fireplace well-maintained and burn only seasoned hardwoods.